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Author Topic: Promoting a Coalition Airplane in the US  (Read 816 times)

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Offline Frankie

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Promoting a Coalition Airplane in the US
« on: September 18, 2016, 11:59:00 AM »
How difficult was it to promote Digital Integration's Tornado in the USA back in 1993-1994? Spectrum Holobyte (SH) was the publisher for Tornado in the US back then. It all started when the late David Marshall met some SH at a games tradeshow.  One thing lead to another and David later flew to the States to demo Tornado to some SH officials. Using Tornado's mission planner, he showed them how easy it was to synchronise a multi-plane coordinated attack. The SH officials were gobsmacked because they had never seen anything like it before. Here are some magazine advertisements by SH's marketing department.

Click on the images to enlarge them

Unfortunately, in the US, Tornado didn't sell as well as DI had expected. Some attribute the lack of expected sales to general public unfamiliarity of the coalition airplane. For example, the F-15 and F-16 were and are household names. Others attributed it to the unforgiving nature of the hard-core flight sim. It didn't really have an randomised instant action mode. You had to read the manual to play the game. There were too many keys. Others said that Falcon 3.0 was a flight plane sim whilst Tornado was more of a low-level action flight sim. And Falcon 3.0 had already cornered the armchair fighter jock market.

In hindsight, what could SH have done to promote the game better? It's of course 23 years too late for this and these days nobody really cares. Still it is interesting to speculate what could have been had things been different. Here's what I would have done (easy for me to say and speculate from the sidelines):
(1) Work with DI to make Tornado part of the Digital Battlefield series by adopting and modifying the mission planner so that it could work with Falcon 3.0;
(2) Model the Tornado airplane in Falcon 3.0. Have missions where Tornado flights are either represented or modeled. In that way, Falcon 3.0 flight simmers would be more acquainted with the Tornado coalition plane. To get the 'real deal', flight simmers would have to buy DI's Tornado;
(3) Feature some RAF pilots in interviews or advertorials.
(4) Work with DI to add scalable features in Tornado - for example, allow the enemy AI to be set to novice, normal or veteran settings. This would cater for the non-hardcore flight simmers.
(5) Use a real-life Tornado simulator to promote the game! Rod Swift of DI actually built one. The cockpit was made of wood and it needed several able-bodied men to carry it around for tradeshows.

What would you have done better, had you been Spectrum Holobyte?

Frankie Kam
« Last Edit: September 18, 2016, 12:21:18 PM by Frankie »

After the Dogs of War are let slip, let us smoke the Pipes Of Peace.